The revamped ambulance coordination centre in Nicosia has expanded its services to cover the Famagusta district as of Sunday, it was announced.
“The purpose of the centre is to better coordinate actions and thus maximise the efficient utilisation of human resources in order to reduce the transit time of the ambulance to traffic incidents or other serious incidents as a prerequisite for saving lives,” an official statement said.
The ultimate aim is to expand the services of the centre to all districts, it added.
Under a cabinet decision taken in August, the coordinating centre now operates from specially designed premises in Nicosia with up-to-date technology specifically for ambulance coordination.
All calls to emergency numbers 199 or 112 relating to medical emergencies are forwarded to the centre, the staff of which have received specialist training in emergency management and telephone screening of cases on the basis of international protocols.
The ambulance service says dispatchers have been UK trained to provide assistance to callers, to be able to decide whether to direct them to the nearest emergency departments or send an ambulance. They know what to ask callers and which ambulance is closer, which translates to significantly reduced response time.
In August the cabinet approved a plan for the reorganisation and modernisation of the ambulance service that included four new station, one each at Klirou in Nicosia, the old Limassol hospital, Peyia in Paphos and Oroklini in Larnaca. Manpower was to be strengthened at Polis Chrysochous and 24 more paramedics plus more nurses were to be hired to help meet new and existing needs islandwide.
The ambulance service says Cyprus is currently in line with international standards as regards response times, which is ten minutes in urban areas and 20 for rural areas.
The goal is to reduce response time to less than this – seven to eight minutes in the cities and under 20 in rural areas.